Tuesday, July 27, 2010


It was a pretty bleak place, really, 1 Intelligence Unit, Kimberley, in 1980 and 1981, when I was cloistered there as part of my two-year period of conscription. I ferreted out some more drawings I had forgotten about, which give a bit of a sense of the place.

It's not that clear here, but there were slightly curved rows of red-brick buildings, with brick paving, in two of which were the media centre.

Now this does bring those not very pleasant memories surging back. One of those massive bungalows which, we were told, were once hangars, though we saw no evidence of runways. The rectangular shapes at the ends of the buildings, I recall, were used for the sign-writing of various homilies, like "Blood sweated now is blood saved later".

This seems to be a point where two hangars/bungalows were divided by a narrow alley. Note the fire bucket, and the words, "Brand Fire".

I can't recall if this was a bungalow or some sort of storage facility.

Some okes came in cars. This seems to be a case where one is being unpacked, before it would have to be driven to a parking area far removed from the barracks. I remember one young guy who got a 1600 Ford Cortina, I think it was, for his 19th or suchlike birthday. Killed himself in a prang on the way back to base from Joburg.

This stately old mansion was near the entrance to the base amidst tall trees. It was where the officers stayed, no doubt in considerably more luxury than the rest of us.

This little bench, beside a large palm tree, was in the grounds of the officers' quarters.

Inside the media centre. Afraid my drawing isn't too clear, but it was essentially a drawing studio. Note the poster on the wall, by our corporal, Callie Shimwell of Maritzburg. I suspect he got the notion from his dad: "You must speculate to accumulate."

That man Terrence Keyter, on the right, while the other sketches are of a rather hobbit-like character whose name I forget.

It's that same hobbit guy, right, with his inseparable friend, whom I showed together in a cartoon-like drawing on an earlier posting.

This young guy was from Durbs, but his name eludes.

I've just spotted that there is a profile on the left, made from thick felt-tip pen lines. A mate must have found my quick sketches - the guy on the right is reading, with his book on a T-square - and given me a mark out of ten.

This, the preceding and following drawings all have a similar pose. Often I'd just get drawing and the guy would move or do something else. But the effect of a drawing curtailed is sometimes rather pleasing.

Here, in a few lines, I suggest a guy leaning over some work at a table.

I did several composite drawings like this, which acquire an interesting mood. Here the focus was on two berets hanging from pegs on a set of shelves. A guy at work is suggested next to a window on the right, while the one above is from an entirely different time, but in the same locale.

Another of those composites, here amongst sketches of okes with their heads down I did a bit of actual work. It seems we had to do a poster for a concert in Kimberley in aid of SADF funds. Eisch!

Again, amidst the profiles (of Mr Keyter mainly), the words about which I have no idea why they were written - and I'm also not sure that is my printing.

Big Terrence Keyter tackled a lovely task for our worthies: a massive Russian bear possibly embroiled in a conflict, I can't recall. I do remember it had to show this dangerous communist threat and was put up in the main admin building at the base.

Pensive lad. It's all in hand, I tell you.

Elongated head. Sometimes when drawing on a flat surface - here with myriad koki pens - you think you're drawing accurately, only to find the result elongated due to errors of parallax.

Here is the same guy, Lance-Coroporal Craig Glenday, at work, or possibly just reading.

How I got into a position to draw that distant view of someone at work I don't know. I can picture the young Durban guy on the left with a pencil in his mouth as if it were yesterday I last saw him, not 30 years ago.

Another guy, who arrived probably in mid-1980, from the Grahamstown area if I recall, whose name of course is now forgotten.

Mixing up one's media, so to speak, can sometimes be quite effective.

Another sketch done on waste paper used by Mr Slekirk, the airbrush expert.

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